Managing Osteoarthritis In The Shoulder

Managing Osteoarthritis In The Shoulder

When it comes to managing osteoarthritis in the shoulder, seeking guidance from a qualified orthopedist is paramount. Osteoarthritis, often called “wear and tear” arthritis, can cause pain and discomfort in the shoulder joint, making everyday activities a challenge. At New York Sports Medicine Institute, our experienced orthopedists will provide invaluable insights and tips to help you effectively manage osteoarthritis in your shoulder. Continue reading to learn more. 

Osteoarthritis in the Shoulder

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition that primarily affects the cartilage in your joints. In the context of the shoulder, this condition can lead to the deterioration of the cartilage that covers the ends of your bones in the joint. Without this protective cushion, the bones can rub against each other, causing stiffness, reduced mobility, and pain.

Identifying Symptoms

The first step in managing shoulder osteoarthritis is recognizing the symptoms. Common signs include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Crepitus

Diagnosing Shoulder Osteoarthritis

If you suspect you have shoulder osteoarthritis, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional. Orthopedists are specialized in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions, including osteoarthritis. Here’s what you can expect during the diagnostic process:

  • Medical History – Your orthopedist will begin by taking a detailed medical history, including any prior shoulder injuries, surgeries, or existing medical conditions. This information helps in understanding your unique situation.
  • Physical Examination – A thorough examination of your shoulder joint will be conducted. This includes assessing your range of motion, checking for swelling, and identifying areas of tenderness.
  • Imaging Tests – To confirm the diagnosis, your orthopedist may recommend imaging tests. These tests clearly show the joint’s condition, revealing any cartilage damage or bone spurs.

Treatment Options for Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Once diagnosed, several treatment options are available to manage shoulder osteoarthritis effectively. Your orthopedist will work closely with you to determine the most appropriate approach based on the severity of your osteoarthritis and your individual needs.


  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): These medications can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Analgesics: Pain relievers like acetaminophen may be recommended for mild to moderate pain.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: In some cases, corticosteroid injections directly into the shoulder joint can relieve pain and inflammation.

Therapeutic Exercise

Therapeutic exercises can help improve shoulder mobility and strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint. Your orthopedist may recommend specific activities tailored to your condition.

Lifestyle Modifications

  • Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the painful strain on your shoulder joint.
  • Avoiding repetitive overhead movements or activities that exacerbate pain is crucial.
  • Assistive devices such as braces or slings may provide support and alleviate discomfort.

Surgical Interventions

Surgical options may be considered in cases of severe shoulder osteoarthritis that do not respond to conservative treatments. Your orthopedist may recommend procedures like shoulder arthroscopy or joint replacement surgery.

Living Well with Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Managing shoulder osteoarthritis is an ongoing process requiring active participation in your healthcare. Here are some additional tips to help you live well with this condition:

  • Stay Informed Continuously educate yourself about shoulder osteoarthritis and its management. Keep up with the latest advancements in treatment options and techniques.
  • Regular Follow-Ups – Make regular follow-up appointments with your orthopedist to monitor your progress. Discuss any changes or concerns regarding your shoulder health.
  • Pain Management – Work with your orthopedist to develop a personalized pain management plan. Communicate any changes in your pain levels or medication side effects.
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle – Focus on a well-balanced diet and regular exercise to support overall joint health. – Avoid smoking, as it can contribute to inflammation and slow healing.

Contact Us

By following these guidelines and working closely with your orthopedist, you can effectively manage shoulder osteoarthritis and regain your quality of life. Be sure to contact New York Sports Medicine Institute today to learn more and request an appointment.